A nationwide energy outage in Pakistan left practically 220 million folks with out electrical energy on Monday, threatening to trigger havoc within the South Asian nation already grappling with gas shortages within the winter months.
The nation’s Ministry of Vitality stated in an announcement the nation’s Nationwide Grid went down at 7.34 a.m native time, “inflicting a widespread breakdown within the energy system,” in line with preliminary studies.
“System upkeep work is progressing quickly,” the assertion added.
A “restricted variety of grids” within the capital Islamabad and town of Peshawar have had energy restored, the ministry stated.
It’s unclear how lengthy the outage will final and efforts are underway to revive energy to numerous elements of the nation.
Within the metropolis of Quetta, in Pakistan’s southwest Balochistan province, the outage has affected all features of every day life, together with hospitals, markets and households.
“As a result of unavailability of mills, companies are affected in well being facilities in suburbs of Quetta metropolis,” the director of Balochistan’s well being division, Dr. Imran Zarkoon, informed CNN.
Zaheer, the proprietor of a clothes store in Quetta, stated they haven’t any backup and have been ready for the electrical energy to be restored for hours.
“The entire market of Jinnah highway is virtually shut, as with out electrical energy prospects don’t flip to outlets,” he stated.
The outage comes because the nation’s fragile financial system continues to battle with a number of challenges, together with a extreme power disaster.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif ordered all federal departments to cut back their power consumption by 30%, whereas his authorities ordered all markets to shut by 8.30 p.m. and eating places by 10 p.m.
The choice to cut back power utilization got here as Pakistan introduced its international change reserves had dwindled to alarmingly low ranges. In December, the nation’s complete liquid international change reserves stood at $11.7 billion, which is half the quantity it held initially of final yr, in line with the central financial institution.
Monday’s energy outage is Pakistan’s most widespread energy shutdown since 2021, when the nation plunged into darkness for hours after a “sudden plunge within the frequency within the energy transmission system.”